Mangochi riots shooting victim dies

A man who was shot during the violent demonstrations in the resort district of Mangochi on Wednesday has died.

The victim, identified as Peter Yusuf Muba, aged 18, was shot in the stomach.

Despite hospital treatment, Muba died on Wednesday at Zomba Central Hospital and he is being laid to rest today at his home village Thundu.

The demonstrations followed adjournment of a court case where a butcher sued representatives of Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) in the district.

Muslims and members of Apostolic Church in Mangochi went on rampage and smashed the Mangochi People’s Supermarket and Metro shops.

It had to take the police to use tear gas to bring sanity to the situation.

The incident happened when the Muslims who were at the Magistrate court in solidarity with their friends who was answering charges of breach of peace after being accused of chasing a pork seller from Mangochi market joined another group which were protesting the shooting of people including pupils by Chapalamawamba Forest Reserve game rangers.

About six people were seriously injured after being shot by the game rangers when they were protesting against the eviction of the Apostolic Church members from the forest which they have been encroaching for so many years.

Among the shot, one is the member of the Apostolic Church and five are pupils who were coming from school.

An eye witness told Nyasa Times the pupils met their fate when they were coming from school when they passed by the forest to see what is happening after hearing the commotion.

The Muslims, who were attending the court session, say that they became angry because presiding judge Mjigo asked the defendant to mention which law he was enforcing by chasing people who sell pork at the market.

In response, the defendant replied that he was following the laws from the Koran but the judge rebuffed him that Malawi is a secular state and is not governed by any religious laws. The Muslim perceived the magistrate’s explanation as a deliberate move to find reasons of convicting the defendant.

However, the defendant went on telling the judge that if Malawi does not follow the religious laws then why at the beginning of the session asked him to make a creed to God that whatever he will say is true.

Noting the tension in the courtroom, the judge adjourned the case to Thursday but the Muslims refused, threatening that they will stone the magistrate court should they not pronounce the judgment the same day, so he told them to come in the afternoon at 2pm.

As they were coming out of the courtroom in the morning, they noticed the commotion outside, where people were running away from game rangers and upon learning about the shooting of the six people. Tthe Muslims joined the other residents and started breaking into People’s Metro shop, Hot Pot Lodge among other places forcing the business in Mangochi to come to a standstill.

Mangochi Police spokesperson Rodrick Maida confirmed that the Forestry officials were evicting people from Kwitambo which is near the town.

Meanwhile, the judge has still adjourned the case to Monday December 2, 2013 for judgment.

Chairperson of MAM in Mangochi, Adam Imran Suwedi, has since distanced the Muslim community from the damage and theft.

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